A new Wine Label Intellectual Property Directory is being developed to protect Australia’s wine industry from copycat exporters.
Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the directory will bring greater transparency of exported labels to prevent dodgy copies.
“Copycat export wines mimic Australian brands by copying our labels,” Mr Littleproud said.
“This rips off our producers and it also ruins the reputation of our wine when customers expect a quality Australian wine and receive a cheap knock-off.
“This directory will help protect Australian wine by identifying potential copycat labels.”
Australian wine exports are forecast to top 800 megalitres, with a value of more than $2.8 billion in 2017-18.
In Australia the Trade Marks Act 1995 has mechanisms that allow rights holders to take action to prevent the export of infringing or falsely labelled goods.
How the new directory works
The publicly accessible directory requires all Australian wine exporters to submit images of their labels before gaining export certification.
It will be searchable by image elements, brand name and publication date.
The directory will display the trademarked image of labels, the exporter ABN, brand name and date the label was published to the directory.
“This allows wine growers and exporters to identify copycat labels. Copycats can be stripped of their export licence and those being copied could also take private legal action,” said Mr Littleproud.
“There are significant punishments for those who breach the law and the directory will help ensure copycats are held accountable.”
The government has provided $417,000 to create the directory and its ongoing administration will be funded by industry.
The funding is part of the government’s $50 million Export and Regional Wine Support Package that supports Australia’s wine industry.